Nestled deep within the beauty of Big Sur is a wonder that's almost too beautiful to believe. You can take a hidden trail to one of the best beaches in California, and it's stunning. Who says you have to leave the state to have an adventure to remember?

If you love finding nature's colorful surprises, then you don't want to pass up Pfeiffer Beach. This undeveloped natural landscape is lovely.

All around you, there are towering cliffs, lush forests, and the sight of the bright blue sea. Since the road to get here is unmarked, it's still a local gem. 

As you walk along the shores, you'll be wowed by the shimmering purple sand. It looks totally out of this world!

Wondering what makes it all so colorful?

The presence of natural minerals and pieces of quartz and granite causes the sparkling lavender hues to appear.

Nearby rock formations are just as stunning. Take a look around, and you'll find 'keyholes' in them, carved out by wind and water erosion. It certainly makes for a stunning photo spot during sunset.

It's even dog-friendly, as long as your pup is on a leash.

How do you find this magical beach?

To get there, you can either drive or take a bus from the Big Sur Visitor Area. Since the Pfeiffer Beach parking lot is small, check with the ranger to see how busy it is before you go.

Day lot parking requires an entrance fee of $10 cash per vehicle.

Since there aren't any signs on the road, finding the lot can be tricky. You'll travel down Highway 1 onto Sycamore Road, which winds down to the beach. 

Follow the path for 2 miles. If you see a yellow "narrow road" sign at the turn-off, you'll know you're going the right way. You can find full driving instructions here.

Since the tide is strong and the water's cold, this isn't your typical swimmer's beach. But there are plenty of beautiful places to explore and take in the magnificent coastal views. 

If you love colorful getaways and out of this world experiences, this is one adventure you'll truly have to see to believe.

While you're in the area, you can also visit a stunning black sand beach that's only a short drive away.

Pfeiffer Beach

Price: $10 cash park entrance fee per vehicle

Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily 

Location: Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California 

Why You Should Go: You can explore an actual purple sand beach in California. 


Editor's Note: No overnight camping is allowed. The nearest supply store is 5 miles away at Big Sur Valley Area, so plan accordingly. Some consider the beach clothing optional.

We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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